Dr. Chun connects at 8th annual Business Fest


Photo by Ashley Morishita

Dr. Michael J. Chun speaks directly to KS Maui students about the importance of one day becoming “good and industrious men and women” at the 8th Annual Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce. Oct. 2, 2014.

Dr. Michael J. Chun, retired president and headmaster of Kamehameha Schools Kapālama, spoke with empowerment as the keynote speaker at the 8th Annual Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce Business Fest yesterday, Oct. 2.

During his keynote address, Chun said that Native Hawaiians have been making great strides in becoming more, “instrumental in regaining our culture pride and self-identity.”  He pointed to the rise in Hawaiian immersion schools as one of the positive things making an impact on Hawaiʻi youth.

As Dr. Chun made his way onto the stage, several Kamehameha Schools Maui High School students greeted him with a lei and oli aloha.

ʻWe are brought up by our kūpuna to become good and industrious men and women,” Dr. Chun said.  The eyes of Kamehameha Schools Maui students in attendance lit up when they heard him say this year’s school theme directly to them.

“One of the things that impacted me the most throughout the day was listening to Dr. Chun and his manaʻo of, ‘you are successful because you are Hawaiian, not despite of it.’  To me that was inspirational because of the success that our people have had and the journey they took to get us here today,” said Ms. Jay-R Kaʻawa, KSM academies principal.

“We, as haumāna of Hawaiian ancestry, should take the knowledge instilled to us by our kūpuna and put it to use.  We are the future generations of the Hawaiian culture and need to be able to carry out our kuleana so we can teach descendants old Hawaiian ways,” junior Leimana Puu said.

Dr. Chun addressed all these issues briefly as students prepared to attend forums where Hawaiʻi political candidates shared their views on what actions to take on current and upcoming issues.

At the closing ceremony, Dr. Chun quoted Kamehameha the Greatʻs famous battle cry,  “‘I mua e nā pōkiʻi, a inu i ka wai ʻawaʻawa. ‘A‘ohe hope e ho‘i mai ai.’ Go forward my young brothers and drink of the bitter waters. There is no turning back.”

Dr. Chun was also chief Engineer for the City and County of Honolulu., and vice president of Park Engineering.  He earned his master of science degree in civil engineering from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and a doctorate degree in environmental health engineering at the University of Kansas.

Currently, Dr. Chun serves on the board of directors for Hawaiʻi Pacific University, the Partners in Development Foundation, Bank of Hawaiʻi, YMCA of Honolulu, Nā Kūpaʻa O Kuhio, Matson and other companies and organizations.